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Widzew Lodz: The Story of One of the Best Polish Football Clubs

Widzew emblem



The beginning of the club dates back to November 5, 1910, when in Piotrkow in the register was entered Society of Friends of Development of Physical Widzew, and a week later, i.e. On November 12, 1910. Statutes of the club was signed by the governor.

During first years TMRF football team hadn't any great victory. After World War I's break, in 1922, group of activists change name on Workers' Sports Association Widzew (polish RTS Widzew). President of the club was elected Boleslaw Świerożewicz. Initially, the club had two sections: athletics and football, which from the beginning focused in its ranks many young people especially from the circles of the working class.

Until the start of World War II, the players of Widzew Lodz played mostly in Class A, generally without much success. This was mainly due to financial problems, which effectively prevented the rivalry with mighty clubs factory

Ludwik Sobolewski


Widzew after the war - the lack of success and lower leagues

Date March 25, 1945 it begins the official history of the post-war Widzew. It took two years to promotion to the first division. Debut in the highest league fell on March 14, 1948 year.

The match was played at the stadium LKS-u and the opponent was a team ZZK Poznan (today's Lech) and ended with the victory of the RTS-in 4: 3, and the first, historic goal in the first division for Widzew won in 10 minutes, Boleslaw Fornalczyk.

Unfortunately then there was a worse time. In the years 1949-1952 Widzew played in the second division, and in the years 1952-1972 in the lower leagues.

The situation changed when in 1969 the club moved to activists: Ludwik Sobolewski and Stefan Wroński. They are the main creators of the later success Widzew. Both had a vision to create a team that would function according to the principles adopted in Western Europe. This resulted in the promotion of the district league to the second division, where Wdzew already played in 1972. After the promotion, there was a 3-year period of second division quarantine, during which prepared the performances in the highest league.

The beginnings of the great success stories - national and international

Activists Widzew realized that the team need to be strengthened in order to successfully be able to play in the most important league. The club bought, among others, Tadeusz Gapiński, Zdzislaw Kostrzewiński, Zbigniew Boniek, Tadeusz Błachno, Wieslaw Surlita, Pawel Janas, Andrzej Pyrdoła. After the season 1974/1975 Widzew promoted to the Premier League. It was the beginning of the beautiful victories. Already in the first year of RTS took fifth place.

Another season in Widzew welcomed Mirosław Tłokiński. The club finished second, which meant promotion to the UEFA Cup. The first match at international footballers played against Manchester City and drew 2: 2 with goals Boniek. Because the rematch ended with the result 0: 0 RTS passed to the next round. With another team PSV Eindhoven (later won the cup) were less fortunate and lost both matches.

In the years 1977-1979 Widzew occupied tenth place in the league, so the club bought the following players: Piotr Romke and Wlodzimierz Smolarek, which resulted in a second place in the table. After the season, the club said goodbye to Tadeusz Gapiński and Stanislaw Burzynski, and welcomed Józef Młynarczyk.

1980/1981 Manchester United - Widzew Lodz 1:1

22.10.1980 Widzew Juventus Turyn 3:1

16.03.1983 Liverpool v Widzew Lodz

The first successes

In the season 1979/80 Widzew took second place in the league. He is approaching the memorable 1980 and great success. Firstly, the club again played in the UEFA Cup. This time Widzew fought a duel with a highly regarded Manchester United. Result Away 1: 1 and 0: 0 in Lodz.

In the second round the next rival was Juventus Turyn. Before the Lodz audience footballers won 3: 1, but in Italy, the result was the same, so promotion were settled with penalties. Józef Młynarczyk defended shots Causio and Cabrini, so the end result was 4: 1. Winning from Manchester was a sensation, but defeating Juventus was a big suprise in Europe. Widzew ultimately lost the match with Ipswich Town and was eliminated from the competition.

Despite various difficulties RTS won in the 1980/81 season first historic Polish championship. In spring 1982, Zbigniew Boniek signed with Juventus contract for the astronomical amount of $ 1,800,000. Despite the loss of RTS for the second time in a row was Polish champion.

Empty space on Boniek took Dariusz Dziekanowski (later transfer to Legia), Jerzy Wijas and Dariusz Marciniak, Wiesław Wraga and Mirosław Myśliński

In addition to the Polish championship, Widzew he is referring also international success. The Champions Cup eliminated Hibernians F.C. Paola and Rapid Vienna. Thrilling two-match with Liverpool 2: 0 and 2: 3 ended with promotion to the semi-finals. There Widzew lost to Juventus from Boniek .... :) 0: 2 in Turin and 2: 2 in Lodz.

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Seasons 1982/83 and 1983/84 is another Polish vicechampionship for the Lodz's club. In autumn 1984 years Widzew reached the 1/8 finals of the UEFA Cup, while in 1985, Lodz club won the Polish Cup, the only one in its history.

The following years were not successful for the club. The reason for this was the changing economic and political situation in the country and getting worse financial condition of sponsors.
In June 1987 he left for a few years Ludwik Sobolewski, the creator of the power of Widzew. Club for several years, dropped to a lower division. Ray of hope was a new player - Tomasz Łapiński - the highest record in the history of the club.

Champions from season 1980/1981


18.06.1997 Widzew - Legia 3:2

UEFA Champions League!

The summer of 1991 Ludwik Sobolewski brought new sponsors, which resulted in new contracts with Paweł Miąszkiewicz, Marek Bajor, Piotr Wojdyga and Marek Koniarek. Unfortunately, the sport level was not high. The club left coach Władysław Żmuda, replaced by unknown Franciszek Smuda. In the season 1994/1995 acquired Grzegorz Mielcarski, Andrzej Jaskot and Miroslaw Szymkowiak. With the new coach of Widzew took second place in the league. The team joined Rafal Siadaczka and Marek Citko.

The third in the history of the championship Widzew won in season 1995/1996. All year RTS and Legia compensated fought battle in the table. The championship was to determine the direct clash. In Warsaw they turned out to be better players from Lodz, who won 2: 1. It is worth mentioning that the Widzew did not lose any match in this season.
The club bought the following players: Radoslaw Michalski, Maciej Szczesny, Paul Wojtala, Jacek Dębiński, Slawomir Majak and Marcin Zajac.

In the Champions League Widzew he fought with the Danish Brondby IF Copenhagen (2: 1, 2: 3), Borusia Dortmund (1: 2, 2: 2) and Atletico Madrid, Steaua Bucharest. Despite losing or drew games players showed "Widzew's character" and the game to the end, for which it earned a reputation throughout Europe.

In the season 1996/1997 RTS repeated the battle for the championship between Widzew and Legia. In the penultimate round (18.06.1997) played an unbelievable match, which went down in history of Polish football. 6 minutes before the end of Legia led 2: 0, some fans from Warsaw began to leave the stands to celebrate. Then the goal came Slawomir Majak, 2:33 minutes later drew Dariusz Gęsior, and in the last minute of the match scored a goal Andrzej Michalczuk. 3 goals in 6 minutes !!!

The victory gave the right to perform in the Champions League. After the easy win against Neftczi Baku (8: 0), the next opponent was AC Parma (1: 3 and 0: 4). Lost resulted in the game in the UEFA Cup, and there Widzew faced Udinese (1: 0 and 0: 3). With the club left Bajor, Miąszkiewicz, Wyciszkiewicz and Dembinski, and reached Artur Wichniarek, Andrzej Kobylański and Maciej Terlecki.

In subsequent years, the sport level was better than the financial situation. In the 1998/1999 season he left Franciszek Smuda and Rafal Siadaczka. As a result of the exclusion Wisla Krakow with cups, Widzew could play in the international arena. In the shootout he eliminated the RTS Litex Lovech, but succumbed to Fiorentina. Players fought still in the UEFA Cup - Skonto Riga and AS Monaco.
In the 1999/2000 financial difficulties they were enormous, so began to sell off players: Tomasz Lapinski, Radoslaw Michalski, Marek Citko.


The league dullness

Subsequent seasons have not been successful for Widzew - financial problems, lost matches, changing coaches. For this they went best players: Dariusz Gęsior, Mirosław Szymkowiak. This caused a drop to the second division.
The club saved by Zbigniew Boniek and Wojciech Szymanski.

Twice championship of second division in the century of Widzew

Spark of hope has become the new owner, Sylwester Cacek, who has invested a lot of money. On its way to normal situation interrupt corruption scandal of Wojciech Szymanski, who was quickly thrown out.
After a short stay in the Premier League Widzew again relegated to the second division. Players, trainers and activists have set themselves one goal - to return to the Premier League. The objective was achieved and Widzew promoted to the top league in the first place. Unfortunately, due to a penalty for corruption club was relegated, so he continued playing in the second division.
It is approaching 100 years anniversary of the club, so players have decided to celebrate it again, winning first place and is 16 points ahead of the second team in the table. Thus Widzew defended his championship second division as perhaps the only band in the world!

Supporters - 12th player



Katarzyna Aleksandrzak (author) from Lodz, Poland on December 01, 2020:

Thanks for reading! Well the golden times for Polish football was in times of trainer Kazimierz Górski 1971–1986 - gold and silver Olympic medals, twice 3rd place (it should be 1st in 1974 , but "match on water", ech...) in Word Cup. But I'm proud that Widzew was able to compete with other European clubs even after this gold period. And now we have Lewandowski and Piątek, so maybe we will return to higher level ;p

Antonio Martinez from Kearny, New Jersey on February 09, 2020:

Good afternoon from New Jersey,

It is always a privilege to see someone who has an appreciation for football.

Excellent article and great way to introduce something to people. It hasn't been easy for Poand's first UEFA Champions League participants.

However, it is still a seminal moment. Look forward to hearing more.

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